8th Grade Language Arts Course Information Teacher: Jeff Sanders Email: email@example.com Phone: 720-561-3400 ext. 3459 Room #: 289 Welcome to 8th grade! I am so excited for this school year, and I really look forward to getting to know you as the year progresses. I hope that you will have fun, work hard, and enjoy being a member of this class community. Through writing and reading we can learn a lot about each other, the world, and ourselves, so let’s get started! Course Information: Over the course of your eighth grade year, you will read a variety of texts such as novels, short stories, poems, plays, informational texts and essays. In addition, you will spend a great deal of time working on your writing. Your writing assignments will sometimes tie into what you are reading. Much of this writing will be done by following the five step writing process: brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. You will use the 6 + 1 traits for your writing assignments. Also, you will often be responsible for choosing what you read and write within certain parameters. This is a great opportunity to explore areas of interest in a deeper way. Expectations: Come to class on time, prepared, and ready to participate. Follow the Cougar values: respect, responsibility, safety, and kindness. Contact: I love meeting with parents/guardians! If you want to meet with me in person, please set something up in advance. I prefer the afternoon over the morning because my mornings are usually pretty busy. See the contact information at the top of this document to get a hold of me. Reading List: As of now, the reading list is not completely set in stone, but you will be reading many of the books listed below. The titles that are bolded will definitely be read by all classes. There will also be many non-fiction selections that will be aligned with the 8th Grade U.S. Society curriculum and the class novels. To Kill A Mockingbird Nothing but the Truth The Outsiders The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Fever 1793 Fahrenheit 451 Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie Anthem Speak The Tell Tale Heart (short story) The Red Badge of Courage A Midsummer Night’s Dream A Rose for Emily (short story) Curriculum / Essential Learnings: Below is the 8th Grade Language Arts Curriculum as laid out by Boulder Valley School District. There are six standards and a handful of essential learnings within each standard. Most of the essentials are listed below. We will cover every essential more than once over the course of the year. There is also a list of essential questions that will guide our learning as the year progresses. The full curriculum document can be found on the BVSD website. Standard 1: Students will read and understand a variety of materials. - Establishes purpose for reading and applies specific reading strategies accordingly. - Self-monitors comprehension by using background knowledge, previewing, predicting, questioning, visualization, rereading, and engaging in interpretive discussions. - Applies knowledge of word origins, derivations, inflections, and analogies to extend vocabulary development. - Uses context, structure and connotations to determine meaning of words and phrases. Standard 2: Students listen, observe, speak, and write for a variety of purposes and audiences. - Develops and delivers oral presentations in groups and individually. - Uses planning strategies to generate and organize ideas and details to elaborate on a central theme. - Creates cohesive narrative writing that conveys a clear focus that considers purpose and audience. - Creates cohesive persuasive writing that conveys a clear focus that considers purpose and audience. - Creates cohesive functional writing that conveys and clear focus that considers purpose and audience. - Composes cohesive and coherent multiple paragraph essays across a variety of genres. - Employs elements of composing and revising techniques to publish. Standard 3: Students use grammatical and mechanical conventions of language in speaking and writing. - Uses standard grammatical structures related to singular and objective references in writing. - Uses and correctly punctuates varied sentence structures to include conjunctions and transition words. - Uses comparative and superlative degrees in adverbs and adjectives. - Analyzes and employs conventions of capitalization, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure and paragraphing in written work. - Proofreads and edits for mechanics and conventions. Standard 4: Students use reading, writing, speaking, observing, and listening to synthesize information, to analyze and evaluate arguments, and to develop and defend argumentative positions. - Analyzes, makes inferences, and evaluates an author’s purpose and point of view. - Uses rules and strategies for summarizing a text. - Analyzes and records information using internal text structures. - Develops a formal persuasive piece of writing with a clearly articulated defense. - Analyzes mass media messages. Standard 5: Students apply research skills to locate, select, and make use of relevant information. - Presents findings in a research project in a logical, consistent, and standard format. Standard 6: Students read, understand, and interpret literature as a record and expression of human experience. - Reads a variety of literary works representing a broad spectrum of cultures and genres. - Explains the influence of culture and history on the form, style, and point of view of a literary selection. - Analyzes an author’s use of literary devices. - Uses story elements to understand texts. - Analyzes an author’s intent to affect plot and theme through the explicit and implicit traits and motives of characters’ thoughts, words, and actions. Essential Questions: - How do I incorporate what I am reading with what I know? - How do I communicate my thoughts to intended audiences? - How does grammar, punctuation, and spelling impact a writer’s message? - How does what I write impact or influence readers? - How does what I read impact what I think and do? - How can organization of information impact a researcher’s interpretation of information? - Does literature reflect culture or shape it? Key Assessments: Throughout the course of this year, you will be working on a variety of assessments including classroom activities, quizzes, book groups, written assignments, discussions, tests, and projects. I have created assessments that target multiple learning styles and allow for you to have a choice. Everything we do has a purpose, so it is essential that you put forth your best effort. Grading Policy: I know my grade book is different from others at Southern Hills, so if you ever have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me about them (phone/Email/in person). General Overview: Almost every assignment or project that I give in my class is acting as an assessment. Some assessments will target one essential (see curriculum above), while others will target multiple essentials. A score will be given for every assessment, and that score will go into the “Assessment” category in the grade book. If multiple essentials are assessed within one assignment or project, the total score is based on the average of the individual essential scores. The other category in the grade book is titled “Essentials”. As each individual essential is measured on assessments (see paragraph above), the score is recorded in this category. This score shows exactly how the student is performing with regard to each essential at any given point. Therefore, this score can fluctuate throughout a quarter. Grade Calculation: A student’s grade should reflect her/his mastery of the curriculum, so the “Essentials” category of the grade book will make up 90% of the total grade, leaving 10% for the “Assessments” category. Extra credit is not offered in my class. Scoring: The scores that I give on an assignment reflect the student’s proficiency, and they align numerically with CSAP. 4 Advanced 100% 3 Proficient 90% 2 Partially Proficient 75% 1 Unsatisfactory 65% 0 Not Assessable 50% Letter grades will be reported based on the final percentage at the end of each quarter. A 90 - 100% B 80 - 89% C 70 - 79% D 60 - 69% F 50 - 59% Homework: I would like you to read for 25-30 minutes each night. You should always have a book to read. See me if you need recommendations. Aside from that, homework will be assigned most evenings (3-5 times a week). Homework is due at the beginning of class. Late Work: Any assignments you turn in late should be placed in the tray labeled “Late Work” that is located at the front of the room. If work is not turned in when it is due, points will be taken off the assignment for each day it is late. This will be reflected in the “Assessments” category on Infinite Campus. I will accept work as long as it is within the timeframe of the unit. Any student leaving on a prearranged absence must get work ahead of time. You have the number of days absent plus one to make up missed work for an illness, etc. Materials Needed: Composition notebook / Journal 1” 3-ring binder Four dividers Lined paper Pencils and pens Flash Drive / Memory Stick - Not Required! Classroom Procedures: 1. Heading on your papers: In the upper right corner of your papers, please include your name, the date, and class period. 2. Using the restroom/getting a drink: I prefer that you use your passing period to do these things, but I will give you a pass if you need to use the restroom. You must ask me before leaving the classroom. If I allow you to leave, you must take the hall pass. 3. Food and Drink: The only drink that I allow in class is water. Feel free to bring a bottle so that you don’t have to leave in the middle of class. I do allow snacks as long as they do not cause distractions and do not make a mess. If you leave a mess, it will result in the loss of the privilege to eat in my room. 4. Pencils: I expect that you come to class prepared, and that means coming with a writing utensil. I do not give out pencils, but I will have them available for purchase (Two for 25 cents). I will use the money from the pencils for a small party at the end of the year.
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